Strollin....to answer your question 'am I unworthy?' I dont know cos I aint seen ya, but if you came along to the club and asked for a floor spot and we didnt know you, you would get one song (number). If you got your bit of paper out you would, no matter how good you were only get that one number. Sorry, but thats the way it is chez nous.
When one looks around at the average age of audiences (and performers) we are much older and, I suspect, more critical and more selective and not prepared to tolerate stuff that we did when in our teens or twenties. Audiences are far more sophisticated now.
When people walking through the door are asked to stump up money for a seat in the club they should not be expected to sit through rank amateurism.....and they dont, hence the reason so many clubs have only a handful of people sitting in the audience.....hence the question 'Why dont you go to folk clubs?'.
Can you imagine going to a jazz club and the support artist/singer getting a bit of paper out with the words/chords written on. It simply wouldnt happen! It doesnt happen at blues clubs, country & western music clubs (not that I've been to many of those)....Its not just about those who cant/wont learn their stuff, its the general belief that you can stand up in a folk club and get away with anything, and its something that seems to be peculiar only to folk clubs, in that for too long we have tolerated too many mediocre performers. Its one thing in a session in a bar, or an open mic, but the minute we ask paople to cough up money to get in then we gotta be professional.
The club I started is The Harbour Sessions in Southwick, West Sussex. Have a look at some of the pics on www.harboursessions.co.uk
We have a lot of fun, a lot of great music and the audience keep coming back and they bring their pals with them. The next three guests are Steve Tilston, John Renbourn and then Hans Theessink. All top line guests. Anyone paying to come along to one of these evenings will expect good, solid performences, whether it be from the hosts, the residents or the floor guests.